BASIC stands for Book and Serial Industry Communications, a standards forum of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), which is supported by publishers, librarians, booksellers, wholesalers, book manufacturers and book suppliers. For over 25 years, these industry parties have worked to develop standards which would facilitate computer-to-computer ordering and fulfillment. Four years ago, BISAC and SISAC (the Book and the Serial Industry Systems Advisory Committees) merged to form BASIC. AALL had sent a liaison to SISAC and continues to send one to BASIC. As the current BASIC liaison, I plan to share developments with you and to represent the needs of the law community to BASIC.
BASIC is involved with formats for electronic data interchange (EDI), used in electronic ordering and claiming. Is your library using electronic ordering or claiming? Do you need to send additional data that you canít send now?
SISAC helped develop the NISO standard Z39.56-1996, the Serial Item and Contribution Identifier (SICI). It is a character string ó based on the ISSN ó which can identify a particular issue and article of a serial. It can also be expressed as a barcode, to facilitate automated checkin. The SISAC bar code standard is due for its five-year review; SISAC will review it and provide input to NISO. Unfortunately, SISAC bar codes have not generally appeared on law serials. The obvious barrier is the lack of ISSNs. How can we improve this, to facilitate automated serials checkin?
In association with other international groups, BISG maintains the Online Information Exchange standard (ONIX) in the United States. In other words, BISG is involved with developing changes to the standard with input from appropriate parties. ONIX refers to an XML format in which publishers distribute electronic information about their publications to wholesale, retail and e-tail booksellers. ONIX contains not only bibliographic information long familiar to libraries (metadata), but also tables of contents, pictures of book jackets, reviews, information about authors, and purchasing information. The format was originally developed to provide data to electronic retailers such as Amazon.com. Library patrons seemed to respond to Amazonís catalog, so some library system vendors are now offering similar enrichment for opacs. If your law library is using an opac that provides this kind of information, does it work for the law titles? Is there any ONIX data out there, for us? Can the ONIX data be matched effectively to our bibliographic records?
Currently, ONIX formats are being developed for serials, which could perform alerting functions, such as when an issue has been mailed or when an e-journal issue has been posted. This should allow us to claim missed issues promptly, and lessen premature claims. Like ONIX for books, ONIX for serials could carry tables of contents.
One of the most visible changes that BASIC is involved with is the proposed expansion of the ISBN. The need to accommodate vast numbers and kinds of electronic publications is driving this expansion. All our library systems will eventually have to accommodate this longer number.
Since many of us live with automated library systems, we know that we are affected by bibliographic standards. Here is another group of standards that, less visibly, affect the way we operate. Letís get involved with their development, so they can accommodate the needs of law libraries.